How to keep your virtual audience engaged using two quick tricks


Real talk: have you ever sat through a presentation that made you wanna tear your own hair out?

Maybe the speaker seemed scattered… going off on tangents that didn’t feel relevant to the slides he was sharing…

Or maybe there was so much text on each slide, that it became difficult to track what bullet point he was up to and what the takeaways were…

Can I be honest with ya? 

Unless you’ve formatted your slides to keep you on track and your audience immersed in your presentation, you, my friend, might be having the same effect on others when you present virtually. 😳

Not because you’re under-prepared, or a boring speaker… (if you’re reading this you clearly value preparation and engaging your audience…)

But because you might be formatting your slides in a way that works against you instead of for you… 

Watch this clip from inside a SelfSpoken team training to learn a few simple tricks you can start using TODAY to keep your virtual audience engaged.

The key takeaways? 👉

1. Turn the headlines on your slides into questions.

Rather than using generic phrases like  “Overview” or “Summary of Findings” as headlines for your slides, try turning your headlines into specific questions that a) entice your audience and b) help you transition smoothly between talking points. Here are a few examples:

Generic Headline: “Summary”

→ Specific Question: “What key takeaways will help us drive growth?”

Generic Headline: “Strategies”

→ Specific Question: “How can you be more efficient and effective at X?” 

Why it works:

When you lead with questions instead of statements, you pull your audience in. You create a curiosity gap that their brains are wired to want to close. 

To formulate these questions, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and brainstorm: 

  • What questions am I uniquely positioned (or qualified) to answer for them? 
  • If I answer these specific questions… they’d feel like they got what they came for.

By zeroing in on what questions your audience might have for you, and naming them out loud throughout your presentation, your audience will not only feel like you *get* them, but they’ll also stay engaged to receive your answers.  

Pro tip: I recommend having the question on the slide for you to pose as a natural transition between talking points. 

2. Keep coming back to the agenda slide.

If your presentation is longer than 30 minutes, I’d share an agenda slide with your audience at the top of your presentation. And as you move from one section to the other, flash your agenda slide again to keep them up to speed on what’s been covered and what’s still to come.

Why it works:

Nothing is more satisfying to the human brain than completing a task. When you return to the agenda throughout your presentation—to reveal what’s been covered and where you’re headed next—your audience not only gets to check things off a list, but they also get the impression that you really value their time. 

Pro tip: I like to use a big arrow to clearly show my audience where we are in the agenda. You could also circle the item you’re focusing on next, or even cross off each item as you go to reinforce that sense of achievement.

Want to learn more tips for leading more engaging meetings and presentations, whether over Zoom or back in the face-to-face world?

Could your team benefit from learning these skills too? I’m talkin’ how to:

👉 project credibility through a screen

👉 structure your meetings and presentations so they work for you instead of against you

👉 translate your in-person communication style to the virtual world, so you hook your audience from the beginning and keep them engaged the whole way through… 

Then you’ll want to fill out this inquiry form to book one of SelfSpoken’s signature team trainings!

And here’s what some recent team leads have to say:

Intrigued? Here’s a copy of our 2021 Team Training brochure.

Send in an inquiry—I’d learn to love more about you and your team’s goals. 


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